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James Cendol @ Sitiawan
Sitiawan Cendol
Wife of the owner, James

It’s been ages. Felt almost like years since the last travelling stint sometime during the last quarter of 2010. This time around, I had a whirlwind of a few hours worth of fiasco down south, around Pantai Remis-Sitiawan-Seri Manjung.

The lapse of serious travelling throughout the last 10 months in KL got this old bones rusted to some considerable extent. Still remember vividly how we used to go north-south-east-west within weeks, and still survived the ordeal with lots of memories to be retained, work experiences to be shared, and burping good food stories that could last an eternity.

This noble quest of food hunting around Perak is being tasked upon the remnants of this now-defunct gluttons club, plus a few fresh bloods in the old office. I can only watch from afar.

Sitiawan Cendol

I know Sitiawan almost like the back of my hands. Ok, slightly exaggerated, but comparing myself to most tourists, Ipohans or heck, even some locals in Sitiawan/people whom have worked for years in the district, I still have the upper hand in the food-navigation department.

A good one year or so from the last visit to this beautiful town that shares borders with Ayer Tawar and Seri Manjung.

Sitiawan Cendol
The Indian temple on the same side as The Store on Jalan Lumut in Sitiawan

So, Tesco has started operating in Seri Manjung. A mainstream hypermarket at long last, in tandem with the rapid development around the district made famous by fisheries, a port in Lumut and cheap seafood.

Yes, the sweltering heat proved to be too much for this Motormouth. Came back driving on the Ipoh-Lumut highway with a hoarse throat, slight headache and an immensely-dumbed down mentality from the sheer drama in Pantai Remis earlier in the morning. But I shall not go there, for anything can happen in this Bolehland.

The bowl of chilled cendol in gula Melaka and extra lumps of pulut (glutinous rice) made my afternoon so much more bearable. Yeah, albeit the fact that the make-shift zinc roofs did less to shelter the burnt layer of epidermis from Mother Nature’s wrath, and the revelation that this bowl of shaved ice dessert cost me a good RM2.20 (with pulut) now, with skimpy portions to boot (less kidney beans and the worm-like green pea flour strands).

Sitiawan Cendol
Rojak Manjung – A cross between Indian pasembor, and Malay style of conventional rojak.

James is manning a stall in KL now, and stay til the end of this post for the address. By the way, the stall in Bercham of Ipoh is not the original James cendol. That one’s opened by his nephew though.

Who knows a solitary venture could be so therapeutic? The previous food haunts around town jolted at the back of my mind, but most restaurants require more than one diner to share the portions (like Bei King or Lido for instance). Ended up at Rojak Manjung further up the same road of Jalan Lumut, easily the most populated stall in D’Mara Plaza come lunch hours.

Sitiawan Cendol

This was not the first time I was here eating alone. Maybe this type of stalls is best suited for single diners, since I won’t be pressured to order more than an individual portion of food; their famous “rojak” (Malaysian style of mixed fruits / vegetables / fritters salad served usually with a spicy sauce) for example.

For RM3.50 (‘biasa’ or without addition of extra ingredients), you get a whole boiled egg sliced in quarters, a perfectly crunchy and addictive piece of ‘cucur udang’ (prawn fritters) studded with caramelized (almost burnt, in a positive way) onion chopped into chunks, potatoes, a piece of chewy chicken gizzard that’s more of a Fear Factor ingredient for detractors than anything else, fish cakes and bean curd. The spicy peanut sauce on the side is a perfect complement to the ingredients, so compatible that you’d be left wanting more of the sauce, or the ‘cucur’ for dipping purposes.

Sitiawan Cendol
The nasi campur stall was doing very well too, on a perpetually-packed basis.

Still with ample stomach space for lunch, I went in search of my favourite ‘gong pian’, a Foochow style biscuit baked in a large contraption akin to how they make Indian naan bread, or the Gunung Rapat’s ‘heong peng’.

Sitiawan Cheong Cia Gong Pian ran out of biscuit to sell at 2pm, though they were still busily making new batches. Some locals adamantly swore that Sin Lay’s better, in Kampung Koh further inside the villages of Sitiawan. Kedai Biskut Sin Lay is located a short distance away from the famous Kampung Koh market’s kampua mee/loh mee stall. And last time, this fantastic Foochow restaurant used to be here, but they have moved.

Sitiawan Cendol
Almost non-descriptive and easily missed if you’re zooming past the shops in Kampung Koh.

The ‘gong pian’ from Sin Lay was terribly hard the last time I had one, so badly that I did not succeed in finishing the whole piece. Maybe the biscuits were left hardened and cold while seated in the cabinet display. But this time, I walked over gingerly preparing my camera for a potentially few good shots. Four workers were seated in the middle of the room making new ones.

As I was about to snap some pictures and buy myself a few pieces of the pork-lard oil infused, caramelized onions stuffed biscuits, the buzzing flies in the cabinet got me thinking twice. Sorry, although I eat from the streets without a care in the world on most days, the sight of flies on my food is repulsive.

At the end of the day, the Manjung coconut jelly capped the day off with a bountiful loot of 6 pieces to bring home. (One for RM3.50, three for RM10). Still seated in my fridge, I know I am gonna have myself some refreshing antidote to the manic weather in the coming days.

James Cendol
Branch in KL at Old Klang Road, next to Lee Chong Wei’s Sports Arena.
article and photo by Motormouth From Ipoh  |  Permalink
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